Religion Book Reviews (page 176)

Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Levy does a service in pointing out that prosecutions of people on religious grounds aren't unthinkable—and indeed sometimes still occur."
In an eloquent, monumental study that retraces some of the ground covered in his Treason Against God (1981), Levy (Humanities/Claremont Graduate School; Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, 1988) recounts the often shameful history in the West of ``the suppression of freedom of expression in the field of religious belief and experience.'' Although Levy focuses on the development of the concept, plus the common law, of blasphemy in the Anglo-American tradition, he covers the evolution of the offense everywhere in Judeo-Christian thought through the Reformation (Christian thinkers, he says, expanded the technical ancient Jewish understanding of blasphemy to encompass idolatry, heresy, sacrilege, and related offenses of nonconformist thinking). Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 28, 1993

"Eck, in the best ecumenical style, tries to reconcile contradictory beliefs by reducing them to their lowest common denominator- -seemingly without realizing that this robs them of imaginative force."
Cut-and-dried comparisons of the world's great religions. Read full book review >

Released: Aug. 25, 1993

"Too cluttered, and blemished by sly jibes at Judaism and Christianity, but still memorable as travelogue and Islamic apologetic."
A rare firsthand account, by an American writer and recent Muslim convert, of a journey to the geographical heart of ``the least understood of the world's great religions.'' Wolfe postpones his trip to Mecca until the second half of his narrative, preceding it with a colorful but meandering description of his sojourn in Morocco. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 18, 1993

"Extensive notes and bibliography add to the value of this study for the student of religion, but it lacks the punchy thesis needed for more popular appeal."
A thoughtful but short-sighted study of a precariously splintered American Jewry. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 2, 1993

A compelling, multidimensional look at Judaism and Spain—a land infamous for its medieval anti-Semitism but as yet unheralded as a haven from Hitler. Read full book review >

Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Grof's two-selves model of human nature is as old as the myth of the Fall; but her application of it to addiction is inspired, well argued (though more case histories would have enlivened the text), and alight with hope and promise."
A provocative reevaluation of addictive behavior that considers it not within the prevalent ``disease model,'' as California-based therapist Grof puts it, but within the context of a universal need for spiritual satisfaction. Read full book review >
Released: July 31, 1993

"A disappointing scrapbook seemingly designed more for the author than the reader."
An uneven—and even self-indulgent—mÇlange of autobiography and reportage from a Jewish writer with deep southern roots. Read full book review >
Released: July 14, 1993

"A balanced yet heartrending contribution to Holocaust literature."
In a vividly narrated reexamination of the historical record, Zuccotti (History/Barnard; Italians and the Holocaust, 1987) tells the horrifying story of the fate of French Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators. Read full book review >
Released: July 7, 1993

"One can't blame Blatty for sleazing up Robbie's plight, but it's good to have Allen's levelheaded account, which allows the apparent facts of this influential case to speak for their own—and compelling—selves."
The 1949 exorcism that inspired William Blatty to write The Exorcist, recounted in admirably restrained and documented fashion by an unlikely source: military-expert Allen (Merchants of Treason, 1988, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: July 2, 1993

"Impressive on-site research, bungled in delivery. (Three maps)"
A lackluster presentation of luminous source material, by an Australian expert in native religions (Letters from a Wild State, 1992). Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1993

"A worthy contribution to Holocaust literature: superb, dispassionate analysis of the roots of evil, perpetrated most often in lockstep with the culture that encourages and reinforces it."
In the first volume of a trilogy on the manifestations of evil in humanity, Katz persuasively asserts that most horrific acts of mass murder are carried out by ordinary people under a bureaucratic government or cultural environment that condones—even demands—such actions. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1993

"A dull and unconvincing rendering that has no place on the bookshelf next to Georges Bataille, J. K. Huysmans, or even Arthur Lyons (Satan Wants You, 1988)."
A shallow account of how Feldman (Psychology/University of New Mexico) cured a victim of satanic sex abuse through hypnosis and New Age methods. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >